In the news...

From journalist to passion fruit grower

March 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Lominda Afedraru paid a visit to John Bosco Wasswa’s passion fruit farm. Former journalist JB Wasswa was inspired by a newspaper article to venture into passion fruits … here he talks about how he and his family got started, what the challenges were and are, and his ambitions – to …

B4FA Week in Review – 24 March 2015

March 25th, 2015

The GM debate in Africa has made UK headlines as journalist Oliver Wright journeys to Uganda for the Independent to investigate the Bill and Melinda Gates programme to develop wilt-resistant hybrid bananas by inserting a gene from red peppers. (Read “The GM crops debate moves to Africa – and it’s just as noisy“.) …

ActionAid: The charity spreading groundless fears over GM

March 24th, 2015 / The Independent, UK

Donors to one of Britain’s largest humanitarian aid charities have been unwittingly funding an aggressive anti-GM food campaign in Africa that misleadingly warns farmers that eating the crops could give them cancer. A senior official working for ActionAid in Uganda reports that the charity shows farmers pictures of rats with …

GM crops: Vital for food security? Or overestimated potential?

March 23rd, 2015 / The Independent, UK

The Independent explores the debate that still rages over genetically modified food nearly 20 years after the first commercial crops were developed. Journalists travelled to Kenya and Uganda where scientists are using GM to improve drought resistance and combat pests and diseases – some of which are unique to Africa. …

Biotech crops – fastest adopted crop technology in the world

March 23rd, 2015 / Vanguard, Nigeria

The global hectarage of biotech crops has in creased more than 100-folds from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to181.5 million hectares in 2014 making biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times.This was revealed by the director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, at …

Increase water harvesting in Africa

March 20th, 2015 / Nature

Ensuring that the world’s food needs are met by 2050 will take a doubling of global food production1. To improve agricultural yields on that scale will require a radical rethink of global water-management strategies and policies. Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of this challenge with half of its current …

Heated debate in Uganda over super crops

March 18th, 2015 / Business Daily Live

Green cooking bananas, or matooke, is a national staple in Uganda but in recent years a deadly bacterial disease, known as “banana wilt”, has had a devastating effect, driving some farmers to abandon their beloved crop altogether. It has also sparked a Ugandan version of the global row over …

How air pollution affects agriculture

March 18th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports on how crops can be injured when exposed to high concentrations of various air pollutants. Injury ranges from visible markings on crop leaves, to reduced growth and yield, to premature death. In case of animals, it may lead to infection as a result of …

With iCow and M-Farm, smartphones reboot African agriculture

March 17th, 2015 / Business Daily Live

Wider smartphone and internet access has allowed technology firms to reach remote African farmers with apps providing veterinary diagnoses, crop planting guidance and virtual marketplaces. “People who don’t have access to running water or electricity have access to a phone that is more powerful than computers we had a …

B4FA Week in Review – 10 March 2015

March 10th, 2015

Plenty of interesting and exciting biotech stories this week! Highlights include the construction of a new downloadable, searchable plant protein database, built by the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, which will help scientists identify the functions of more plant genes.
Meanwhile, the newly developed method of “field pathogenomics”, promises to track yellow rust …